Getting to the Heart of Things. . .
Sometimes it feels like you make plans just to throw them out!
Take this past saturday, for example. I typically plan my long-run for saturday since I’m not normally rushed for time. I’ve got a Spartan Super coming up in 18 days followed quickly by a Half Marathon and a couple Spartan Beasts. . .so I’m alternating between a 15 mile road run and a 10 mile trail run. Well, last weekend I ended up skipping my 10 mile trail run completely (slept in and ran out of time), so I knew I absolutely HAD to get my long run in THIS weekend!
I like to take my long-run at a slow pace. . .something called Zone 2 Training. . .I’ll explain what that is and why I use it in a post soon. . .for now just know that it means I have to keep my heart rate between 60% – 70% of it’s MAX. . .which works out to 113bpm – 132bpm for me. This equates to a very slow jog. . .so 15 miles at a Zone 2 speed would normally take me just over 3 hours to complete. Normally, I wouldn’t even worry about it, but this past saturday I had a prior commitment to keep at 11am, which meant I needed to be home by 10:30 at the latest.
What I didn’t take into account is that sometimes your heart rate doesn’t follow the plan you make! If it’s hot outside, your heart beats faster. . .if you didn’t get enough sleep, your heart beats faster. . .if you aren’t hydrated enough, your heart beats faster. . .if you OVER-hydrate, your heart beats faster. . .if you are getting sick, stressed, or simply have been over-training, you guessed it, your heart beats faster!
Not sure which of those I did since I felt great and ready to go, but for whatever reason it felt like I couldn’t put one foot in front of the other without my heart rate jumping up to 140+ bpm! I tried to find a pace that would get me down to Zone 2. . .but after only 1/2 a mile it became obvious to me that there was NO WAY I was going to get my 15 mile Zone 2 run done in time! Or really ANY length of a run in Zone 2! So I did what I find I have too when a plan doesn’t work. . .I threw it out!
I had already decided I was going to get my 15 miles no matter what. . .AND I figured I NOW had just under 3 hours to do it. . .so I turned off my heart rate monitor’s Zone 2 alarm and simply ran. For all the training tools I use. . .sometimes I forget what it’s like to simply run. Back to basics. Smiles and Miles. It felt good.
I ended up clocking an average pace of 10:37 (min/mi) and only taking 2 hrs. and 39 min. So time to spare!
Lesson to be learned here is that you ABSOLUTELY NEED to set up a training plan in order to get ready for an upcoming event. . .and then you ABSOLUTELY NEED to be able to chuck parts of it out and improvise! Don’t get discouraged when your plan doesn’t work out exactly as written. . .look at the broad strokes and not the fine details.
Speaking of fine details. . .I just want to point out that taking a selfie with a bear is normally a HORRIBLE idea. . .and if you come across one while you are out for a run it may be a good time to get in some quick Zone 5 training! But IF that bear hasn’t moved since you spotted it AND looks to have been tagged by a pack of bicycle-crazed graffiti-artists, then it’s probably ‘ok‘.